Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
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Recent News: Longines Wristwatches
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New names and old favouritesWorld Tempus (press release), July 22nd
The cushion shaped-case with its unmistakable 1970s aesthetics recalls watches produced by Longines in this period for amateur divers. A screw-in case-back, crown and bezel ensure water resistance to 300 metres for the two versions available, ...Read more
Gabriel's Lad is on course for a tilt at the Longines International Stakes at ...SkySports, July 22nd
Gabriel's Lad is on course for a tilt at the Longines International Stakes at his beloved Ascot on Saturday. The five-year-old by Dark Angel had excuses when only seventh in the Group Three Criterion Stakes at Newmarket last month and trainer Denis...Read more
MÉXICO: Llega Longines Conquest Classic a MacameEntornoInteligente, July 19th
En una exclusiva cena -celebrada la noche del jueves-, el director general de ventas para Latinoamérica de Longines, Xavier Ligero, fue el encargado de desglosar dicha colección ante los invitados que se dieron cita en las instalaciones de esta sede ...Read more
Glasgow 2014World Tempus (press release), July 16th
52 years after its first association with the Games in Perth, Australia, Longines renews its support to this multi-sport event, taking place from 23 July to 3 August in Glasgow. Involving 71 teams of athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations and...Read more
Longines AvigationWorld Tempus, July 13th
The 44 mm circular steel case of the Longines Avigation - a contraction of "aviation" and "navigation" – referring to a navigation system invented during the 1920s - has the same diameter as the original one. It houses an L704 self-winding, mechanical...Read more
Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings - 6 July 2014Sporting Post, July 10th
The Longines Worlds Best Racehorse Rankings are for 3yos and upwards which raced between 1 January and 6 July 2014. The latest rankings were published on 10 July 2014. JUST A WAY (JPN)  is still well clear at the top of the LONGINES World's ...Read more
Longines Heritage 1935 WatchPerpetuelle.com (blog), June 30th
New for 2014, the Longines Heritage 1935 is a reissue of a watch Longines originally made for the Czech Air Force in the 1930?s; the Heritage 1935 retains all the original's signature elements including the distinctive cushion case with fluted bezel...Read more
Tickets Now Available for Longines LA Masters Equestrian EventLuxury Travel Magazine, June 30th
EEM World announced today that tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Longines Los Angeles Masters, September 25th – 28th at the LA Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. Tickets may be purchased at ...Read more